In the Duckworth Scholars Studio with Jordan Hample

Jordan Hample

Jordan Hample

Jordan Hample got a taste for gaming at Camden County Community College and then moved on to study computer science at Rowen University. After working in the Camden County Library System’s IT department and establishing an independent gaming company with friends (Semag Company), he saw that Temple was hiring for its digital scholarship start-up. Jordan has now been with the Temple University Libraries since 2015. Once we had all made the

Person using VR headset

A student uses a VR headset

transition to Charles Library in the late summer and fall of 2019, Kristina DeVoe and I decided to interview Jordan to find out what in the heck he does and what’s going on in that Loretta C. Duckworth Scholars Studio (web site / blog). Do they have lightsabers? What about transporters? Are there strange bursts of light and otherworldly sounds emanating from that zone on the third floor? What does all of this have to do with education and research? OK, so maybe it’s an exaggeration to say that Jordan was an international man of mystery, but we were nevertheless a little uncertain about

Demonstrating photogrammatry

Photogrammetry in the Scholars Studio

Jordan demonstrates VR

Jordan Hample demonstrates VR

what he does. It seems likely that in our positions as librarians supporting multiple academic departments that we will need to work more closely with the Scholars Studio in the future. So, not only was this interview fun but it was also important for us.

Both of these engaging and informative interviews provide a nice introduction to the work of the Loretta C. Duckworth Scholars Studio through the eyes of one of its founding members. In the first interview he discusses the Scholars Studio and his role in it (3:54-6:33), the VR / Visualization Studio (6:34-8:35), play and gaming in education, plus eSports (8:50-12:23), and outreach (12:26-22:30), among other topics.

Pouring mixture to make faceshields

David Ross pouring the special sauce

In the second interview Jordan first describes working from home. Then he explains in detail the role that the Scholars Studio played in collaboration with the Tyler School of Art and the College of Engineering to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) for the Temple Hospital System for the COVID-19 emergency (7:55-18:20) (special shout out to David Ross). Though the COVID-19 pandemic has been a terrible tragedy, it is rewarding to know this new organizational structure within Charles Library has been able to play such an important and lifesaving role, which is all the more reason to take some time to listen to Jordan’s experiences and insights.

These interviews took place on January 6, 2020 and June 8, 2020. We’d like to thank Jordan Hample for his cooperation.

 

Digitizing Art and History: An Interview with Michael Carroll

What started out as part-time employment for erstwhile undergraduate student Michael Carroll has morphed into a fascinating career reviewing, organizing, and digitizing archival collections that move him back and forth through time and space, a medieval manuscript or a Renaissance Italian log of commercial transactions on one day,

Michael Carroll

Michael Carroll

a montage of 20th century Philadelphia street scenes on another, and yet historical and stereotypical images of racial bias on another. Michael Carroll holds a B.A. (2014) and M.A. (2019) in Art History from Temple University and he is currently working on a Masters in Library Science from Clarion University. He began working in Paley Library (R.I.P., 1966-2019)  as a sophomore and continued this part-time position after returning from a junior year abroad program in Italy. He was hired into a full-time position at Paley Library in 2016.

Digital Collections

Temple Digital Collections

Michael currently leads a team of mostly student workers digitizing the amazing collections in the Charles Library Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) and the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection. His work combines a close attention to detail and technical expertise with an art historian’s eye for the unusual, the ordinary, and the beautiful. For an overview of what he does in his work, listen to minutes 4:09 to 11:42 of the audio.

 

Humanities librarians Jill Luedke (Art & Architecture) and Rebecca Lloyd (History, Spanish/Portuguese, Latin American Studies) interview Michael Carroll (12/05/2019) in this first Behind the Scenes audio, a series that will highlight the

Rebecca Lloyd and Jill Luedke

unsung heroes of the Temple University Libraries. While students, faculty, alums, and community users generally only see the public-facing staff of the Library, there are many more people behind the scenes who organize and make available our vast physical and digital collections. In their positions Jill and Rebecca regularly depend on the materials Michael and his student workers digitize, so they were eager to learn more about his work. At the very end of the interview, Rebecca, Jill, and Michael talk about the importance of primary sources and the need for students and researchers to become more familiar with finding and interpreting them (33:20-38:09).

When asked about his favorite project, Michael explained that scanning and documenting Temple’s medieval manuscripts came out on top.

medieval manuscript

A Medieval Manuscript

Known officially as Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis, Temple’s contribution to this regional project consists of 43 scanned images, containing 15th century Italian business documents, choral sheet music, a book of hours, and a missal leaf.

Stereotypical Image

Stereotypical advertising image

Another special project that he worked on was the Stereotypical Images Collection, a collection of images, designed for classroom use, that represents racial and ethnic stereotypes in popular culture. (You can hear Michael talk about these projects between 16:24 and 18:47 of the audio.) One additional collection that Michael talks about is the work he did in collaboration with the SCRC and the Digital Scholarship Center (the current Duckworth Scholars Studio) scanning a vast

Science Fiction Prject

Science Fiction Books

science fiction collection with OCR technology in order to enable textual analysis and data mining of this digital corpus. He talks about this project during the interview when he discusses the technology-related aspects of his work (13:38 to 16:21).

Throughout the interview, Rebecca and Jill ask Michael to reflect on his career path and provide advice for students who might want to pursue their interests in the cultural sector as a

Michael Carroll

Michael Carroll, action photo

profession. He has very valuable and encouraging suggestions for anyone interested in this fascinating (and, as he cautions, often painstaking) line of work (18:48-21:46; 25:47-27:23; 29:01-32:08).

Since we recorded our original interview way back on December 5, 2019 — which at this point seems like a million years ago — we decided to check back in with Michael at his new pandemic workstation. In addition to providing some insight on how he overcame the initial disorientation and reorganized his work, it is also one among many testimonies to this strange and painful time we are living through.

Macey’s Ashes; or, thinking about non-human animals

Amy Defibaugh and Maple

Amy Defibaugh earned her Religion PhD at Temple University in 2018 with a doctoral dissertation titled An Examination of the Death and Dying of Companion Animals. She now works in the College of Liberal Arts as the director of graduate affairs. She is the author of “Macey’s Ashes: After-Death Care of Companion Animals as Interspecies Family,” which appears as a chapter in the recently published anthology Feeling Animal Death: Being Host to Ghosts (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019). In the words of editor Brianne Donaldson, the authors of Feeling Animal Death “explore feelings and emotions associated with animal death as catalysts for personal development, for professional and activist efforts, and generative of new linkages between ideas and ethics.” “Macey’s Ashes,” adapted from material in Defibaugh’s dissertation, examines contemporary methods of burial and memorialization of companion animals. 

For Defibaugh, the human-animal relationship is a personal as well as intellectual engagement. Having grown up on a Central Pennsylvania farm, non-human animals were always a big part of her life and they remained so as she made the transition to city life. In her doctoral program, her intellectual focus came in part from her graduate teaching of the popular religion course Death & Dying, where she decided to primarily address issues concerning the death and dying of non-human animals. In this course, she and her students…

discussed the destruction of animal habitats caused by human activity that resulted in the depletion of myriad species; [they] examined poaching, hunting, and deforestation. We studied the techniques and modes of animal death, particularly in factory farming, animal shelters, and veterinary clinics. [They] deliberated over the meanings of euthanasia.

But her students were far and away most engaged when discussing the deaths of companion animals (the household dog, cat, rabbit, turtle, or snake). This stimulated Defibaugh’s interest in understanding more about this very intimate relationship. There appears to be a vast untapped reservoir of emotion humans feel towards their non-human companions that is expressed in many different public and private ways and this is among the things that Defibaugh studies.

I spoke to Amy Defibaugh on October 17, 2019 in the Charles Library in Temple University.

—Fred Rowland

Reimagining Hagar: Blackness and Bible

Image of Professor Nyasha Junior, interviewee of this recording

Professor Nyasha Junior

How did Hagar become Black? That is the historical puzzle biblical scholar Professor Nyasha Junior of Temple University investigates in her new book, Reimagining Hagar: Blackness and Bible (Oxford, 2019). 

Hagar first appears in Genesis chapters 16 and 21 as the Egyptian slave of Sarah, the wife of Abraham. Due to her inability to conceive with Abraham, Sarah offers Hagar to her husband as a surrogate and Ishmael is born. 

And Hagar bare Abram a son; and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.  (Genesis 16:15, King James Bible)

Later, Sarah miraculously gives birth to Isaac and commands Abraham to drive Hagar and Ishmael out of her home.  

And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.  (Genesis 21:14, King James Bible)

We actually know little about Hagar’s origins from the biblical text other than the fact that she is an Egyptian. Over the course of her teaching at Howard University, a historically Black university, Professor Junior often encountered certainty among her students that Hagar was Black. On the other hand, she also met people to whom this was an entirely new idea. Professor Junior wanted to understand how this relatively obscure biblical character came to embody her contemporary identity, particularly among African Americans.

Reimagining Hagar is what scholars call a reception history, an investigation into the afterlife of the biblical character Hagar. After explaining Hagar in her ancient setting, Professor Junior leaps forward to the pre-Civil War period and the debates between pro- and anti-slavery forces. What she finds is surprising and begins the process of unravelling the mystery of how Hagar became Black. I spoke with Professor Nyasha Junior on October 2, 2019.

—Fred Rowland

So you’re writing a dissertation, Part 7…The End

The Religion Graduate Student (RGS) passed her dissertation defense and graduated “with distinction”. In the lead-up to her oral defense she reread her dissertation twice, came up with potential questions, and then performed a mock defense with some of her graduate student colleagues. It was a bit hectic bringing her committee members together on November 14, 2012 and one member skyped in, but in the end everything proceeded smoothly and at the conclusion attendees raised glasses of champagne mimosas to toast the newly minted PhD.

In our (bittersweet) concluding interview on February 22, 2013, RGS had just graduated and I had read her dissertation beginning to end. First she filled me in on the details of her big defense day. Then we discussed the content of her dissertation, the writing process, her thoughts about graduate education, and her immediate post-graduation life. In contrast to my medieval notions, the defense did not resemble an inquisition. RGS was satisfied with what she had accomplished but identified a few areas of her dissertation that needed work. She had some trouble describing the writing process and she mourned the many dozens of pages she had written that never made it into her dissertation. The routine she tried to establish at the start never quite came together. In the end it was “tasty treats” that helped her to the finish line. Graduate education is definitely not sustainable and RGS was still struggling to balance her monthly budget, now on an adjunct’s wages. It’s tough to be a scholar in the twenty-first century.  

This interview occurred almost three years to the day from the first time RGS and I spoke about the journey awaiting her. In my first blog post of this series, I described the dissertation as a “ritual initiation in which the student is dropped deep into an unfamiliar wilderness area with nothing but a compass and asked to find her way out.” Having now completed my seventh and final interview with RGS, I am thrilled to know that RGS found her way out of the wilderness. She has now entered the world of scholars. I congratulate RGS on her achievement and thank her for allowing me to share in the journey.     

(Listen to previous interviews: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6

—Fred Rowland  

So you’re writing a dissertation, Part 6

Good news! The Religion Graduate Student (RGS) handed her committee the final rough draft of her dissertation! We met on October 17, 2012 for our sixth interview (and, boy, was I relieved to hear about this). Her defense was set for November 14. I was surprised to learn that she felt “one part relieved and nine parts nervous” because she was not exactly sure as to what constitutes a dissertation. Hers contained some personal narrative and first-person usage and she wondered whether this was consistent with the stereotyped notion of scholarly objectivity. This highlighted the ambiguous and solitary nature of dissertation research and writing.

Since we met in February, she explained that she had been doing nothing but writing. Her reader-friend, Susan, kept telling her to stop working on the introduction! You’re stalling! Plough ahead, write, write, write. In addition to the archival sources from the AFSC’s Nationwide Women’s Program (NWP), most of her other sources came from previous course readings and recommendations from advisors and committee members. With the exception of family life, she emphasized that she had ZERO social life during this latest interval. Did I mention that she had ZERO social life? 

Surprisingly, RGS wrote her chapter 4 on religion, which had been causing her the most anxiety, faster than any other chapter. She argues that Quaker positions on authority and personal testimony infused the NWP long after its early Quaker members had been succeeded by more secular feminist ones. This Quaker perspective allowed the NWP to register the voices of women in far off places (South Korea, South Africa, Taiwan, Mexico, Philippines) who were subjected to the early phases of globalization.

Finally entering the last mile of her dissertation run, we talked about the alchemical nature of the writing process and the fragile nature of memory as one moves through the confusing and foggy middle part of the journey.

(Listen to previous interviews: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

—Fred Rowland

So you’re writing a dissertation, Part 5

The Religion Graduate Student (RGS) and I got together on February 24, 2012 for our fifth interview. She was now entering the third year of her project and she appeared a bit more upbeat than the last time we met. During the fall break she had written productively every day and she subsequently sent advisor John Raines some work that he liked. RGS spent a lot of time reworking her introduction so she could properly frame her second chapter on globalization and her third on the sources at the Nationwide Women’s Program (NWP). She worried that this might not be the best way to go about writing (according to some advice that had filtered through to her) but she now accepted that this was the way that she worked.

Among her sources RGS was struck by the disconnect between masculinist and feminist narratives of globalization. From a masculinist (economic) perspective, it’s all about corporations, institutions, trade agreements, and finance, while the feminist perspective produces primarily ethnographies, highlighting the effects of globalization on women’s bodies. The NWP, as RGS was now seeing, served to bring together these universal and local perspectives, functioning as a clearinghouse of sorts. It’s a reminder that international communications did not start with the Internet. She would be handing in her third chapter a few days after our interview.

As is inevitable, life intervened as RGS was writing in the fall. The Occupy movement broke out spontaneously in September 2011 and Occupy Philly grew up around Dilworth Plaza. When RGS attended a few Occupy Philly general assemblies, she was surprised by the ahistorical nature of the conversations. She realized that her work provided historical context to the issues discussed at Occupy Philly and this strengthened her sense of purpose. References to Occupy Philly would find their way into her dissertation.

Though tempted to do more reading — always more reading — she was now focused on writing, writing, writing. We talked about emotional blocks, the struggle to establish a routine, the messy details of life, and the way the dissertation just hangs around her neck and, according to a friend, is like an abusive relationship. Sounds like fun, huh?

(Listen to previous interviews: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

—Fred Rowland

 

So you’re writing a dissertation, Part 4

On October 14, 2011 I interviewed the Religion Graduate Student (RGS) for the fourth time, so she had now been working on her dissertation for a year and a half. Her project was still moving in fits and starts. Over the summer she had gone through a rather rough stretch, in which she entertained a lot of doubt and uncertainty about the overarching theme of her work. After reading her 50 page first chapter in the middle of the summer, her advisor John Raines suggested that she was not “writing where her passion is”.

Acknowledging this, RGS went back to texts on globalization that she was most interested in — by Stiglitz, Sachs, Sen, and Wallerstein — and began reexamining her ideas. The chapter had looked at the second wave women’s movement from which religion had been expunged, but it included no references to globalization. The books on globalization made no reference to feminism and religion. She began “looking for the gaps” in the conversations on feminism, religion, and globalization and she returned to the Nationwide Women’s Program (NWP) archive to see if these sources might provide some explanation. She found that the notion of progress seemed to be embedded into each of these narratives in important ways.

By the time we met RGS had realized that she would probably end up using very little of the 50 pages she had submitted during the summer. On the other hand, she had a good fall schedule that left her free on Tuesdays and Thursdays and she was getting up each and every morning to work on her dissertation between 6 and 8. Though she had not written a lot since the summer, she was ready to push ahead. The “full body dissertation” routine she had tried to establish when she began in early 2010 had flagged a little: for exercise, she was walking now instead of running because, as she explained, it was harder to talk herself out of walking. She was now hoping to finish her dissertation within the next six months.   

(I found myself wondering if she had passed through that “dark night of the soul” that all seekers of knowledge encounter just before the dawn.)

(Listen to previous interviews: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

—Fred Rowland

 

NEW! Refworks institutional login

You can now create an account in Refworks using your institutional login (TU AccessNet). If you already have a Refworks account, you can associate it with your institutional account.

Creating a new account: https://refworks.proquest.com/

  • Choose Temple University, login using your AccessNet, provide email and name, and Voila! You’ve got an account!

AccessNet Login

Associate an existing accounting: https://refworks.proquest.com/ 

  • Log in using your existing account, click on Settings and then on Associate Credentials

Associate Credentials image

Questions? Contact Fred Rowland

 

Sights and Sounds of America’s Tenth Man Contest

Christine Woyshner image

Christine Woyshner

 

The 1930s American South was a region of deep racial segregation as the social norms of white supremacy and the terrorism of lynching kept white and black Americans in separate and unequal spheres. The Commission on Interracial Cooperation was an Atlanta-based initiative of white liberals and black leaders to increase understanding and cooperation between the races. Of its many programs, an essay competition called the Tenth Man Contest encouraged white schools to teach black history and culture. At its height, the contest reached 90 school districts in 23 states. Students participating in this program studied numerous textual sources, engaged in a variety of artistic activities, and visited black schools and businesses.

One of the rich legacies of the Tenth Man Contest is an archive of the student papers submitted to the competition. In her article, “‘I feel I am really pleading the cause of my own people’: US southern white students’ study of African-American history and culture in the 1930s through art and the senses” (History of Education, 2018, URL), Professor of Education Christine Woyshner uses this archive to analyze the ways that white high school students understood and interpreted their encounter with the black history, society, and culture. These encounters were often sensuously rich as white students described their visual and aural impressions of African American art, literature, schools and neighborhoods.

I spoke with Christine Woyshner about her article on April 30, 2018.

—Fred Rowland